Responsibility and social commitments
DB AG created Deutsche Bahn Foundation gGmbH in order to bring its charitable commitments and the DB Museum together under one roof and to fulfill its social responsibility even more effectively. Deutsche Bahn Foundation seeks to co-create an equitable society, and improve social cohesion. It combines railway history with signaling future directions. For this reason, it operates the DB Museum, is committed to integrating those on the edges of society, and supports voluntary work. The mission statement “Ensuring a connection. Creating links. Setting the course.” summarizes its task.
Language as the key to integration
Deutsche Bahn Foundation, together with the Reading Foundation (Stiftung Lesen), is heavily involved in reading and language support. One expression of this shared commitment is the nationwide reading aloud day and the annual reading aloud study. The reading aloud kits, filled with reading materials specifically chosen for the target groups, have been presented to more than 8,500 institutions in recent years. Deutsche Bahn Foundation publishes three reading aloud stories for children online every week for free.
In the year under review, Deutsche Bahn Foundation for the third time supported DB employees who donated their free time to charitable organizations. We were able to increase the promotional volume of the employee program, which is re-tendered annually, to € 115,000. These funds go directly to concrete projects that benefit charitable organizations. An independent jury determines the amount to be donated. About 500 projects have been supported since the beginning of the program.
To recognize and reward societal engagement, Deutsche Bahn Foundation was for the first time one of the main supporters of the German Engagement Prize (Deutscher Engagementpreis), along with the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth, and the German Television Lottery.
Deutsche Bahn Foundation works closely with the Railway Station Missions (Bahnhofsmissionen) and their supporting institutions, which provide support to over 100 stations in Germany, and in doing so engages with the area around the stations. Together with the Conference for Church Railway Station Mission (Konferenz für Kirchliche Bahnhofsmission), Deutsche Bahn Foundation carries out an annual tender on a specific theme, which allows Railway Station Missions across the country to apply for funds for needs-based projects and actions to benefit the guests of the Railway Station Missions. In 2018, it supported lower-threshold training programs on the subject of Learning for Life, which allowed long-standing guests of the Railway Station Missions to develop new perspectives on life.
In 2018, Deutsche Bahn Foundation’s video interpreting pilot project and the Conference for Church Railway Station Mission made it possible for assistance to be given to non-German-speaking guests in a total of 60 languages at six locations, with the aim of improving the quality of advice they received.
Deutsche Bahn Foundation also supported an ambulatory clinic near the Berlin Central Station, where people without health insurance could receive medical assistance at any time of the year and free of charge. Beyond that, Deutsche Bahn Foundation offered structured discussions to those with mental and psychological issues through “Courage Providers at the Station” at the Berlin Central Station. The Courage Providers gave help, and where necessary connected them to the social and psychiatric health system in Berlin.
Promoting mental health
Deutsche Bahn Foundation, together with the German Depression Aid Foundation (Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe) has been involved since 2014 in working to destigmatize depression as a mental illness in society. As part of this, it supports the German Federation against Depression (Deutsches Bündnis gegen Depression) which operates in more than 80 cities and regions. In the year under review, the construction in Leipzig of the country’s first depression research center that is treatment-based and independent of the pharmaceutical industry was successfully agreed. The Germany Depression Barometer (Deutschland-Barometer Depression) study from the Foundation German Depression Aid (Deutsche Stiftung Depressionshilfe) and Deutsche Bahn Foundation in the year under review investigated the key topic of relationships, which resonated particularly strongly in the media.
Learning through engagement
Training posts remain unfilled because many high school students are not aware of what jobs are available and which would suit them. Deutsche Bahn Foundation and the Learning through Engagement Foundation (Stiftung Lernen durch Engagement) developed the “Appointed heroes – learning through engagement for career opportunities” (“Berufene Helden – Lernen durch Engagement für Chancen im Beruf”) project to intervene in this area. Trained teachers assist their high school students in planning and implementing a project based on their own social environment that encourages career orientation and/or skills needed for training. The students organize and reflect on their projects, acquiring specific training competences and skills, thereby laying the foundation for their future professional lives.
In 2018, Deutsche Bahn Foundation unveiled the traveling exhibition “decoupled” (“entkoppelt”) at the Berlin Central Station. Twenty largeformat photographs and texts draw attention to the issue of youth homelessness. Every year in Germany, up to 2,500 young people end up on the streets, or experience hidden homelessness as so-called sofa-hoppers. Together with the Off Road Kids Foundation, Deutsche Bahn Foundation helps to prevent runaways and sofa-hoppers from having to live on the streets. Beginning in 2018, through the online platform and the first virtual Streetwork Station in Germany, at-risk youths can access qualified contact and advice points all over Germany for the first time. Here, young people can discuss problems with street advisors and get help anonymously.
DB Museum – living history
The DB Museum has three sites. The permanent exhibition at the Nuremberg Museum of the history of the railway in Germany was completed in June 2018 with the opening of the “Germany of the two Railways” (“Im Deutschland der zwei Bahnen”) section. Successful temporary exhibitions such as the “TEE meets Vindobona” (“TEE trifft Vindobona”) and “Classified Railway” (“Geheimsache Bahn”) and an education and events program supplemented the offer. Here, the museum’s educational program has been completely revised and expanded. Surprising offers such as Open Locomotive Days (Tage der offenen Loks), escape rooms, theatrical performances or kids’ rallies allowed it to reach new target groups.
With a total of more than 600 locomotives and cars across Germany, the DB Museum possesses one of the most important vehicle collections in the world. Most of the locomotives and trains from the German Federal Railway (Koblenz) and the East German National Railway (Halle) on display are freely accessible. Both branches of the museum receive significant support from former employees as part of the BSW & EWH Foundation Family (Stiftungsfamilie BSW & EWH).
In the year under review, the DB Museum successfully increased its visitor number by 2% to over 218,000 visitors. The sites at Koblenz (+11%) and Halle (+39%) were able to achieve particularly significant growth, whilst the Nuremberg Museum experienced a slight drop as a result of construction work (–2.5%).